Is there any more pretty a sight at this time of year than seeing the beautiful blossom of the ornamental cherry tree? One minute everywhere is dull and grey with skeletal trees wherever you look and then overnight there is this burst of colour!
We planted the majority of trees in our garden back in 2007 and I’m sorry to say that at that time I hadn’t even thought of a cherry blossom. We have made up for it since then, and now have a grand total of seven with plans for maybe a couple more.
Have you ever seen the Cherry Blossom photos from Japan in Springtime? Oh my, but it is just the most amazing sight!
While most of us don’t have the space to put on such a display in our own gardens, it would be worth trying to fit in one (or two) if you can! Yes, the flowering time is short-lived but boy for those few weeks, they are just a joy and I dare anyone say that looking at that beautiful pink blossom doesn’t brighten your day 🙂
The first trees we bought (and we have three of these) are Cherry Shirofugen (or Prunus Shirofugen to give them their proper title). Each Spring I look forward in earnest to the gradual awakening of the blossom on these trees when the tightly wrapped buds just unfurl into the most glorious white/blush blossom that hang in clusters from long stalks. They bloom in April/early May and the blossom stays on the trees for 3 to 4 weeks. As the time passes, they change in colour to a beautiful purple/pink before being swept away by the southerly winds which sometimes blow a gale through our garden. These cherry trees grow to 25ft high x 30ft wide so quite a substantial size
Recently, we invested in the latest additions to our collection – Cherry Kanzan (Prunus Kanzan). This is, I think one of the most common varieties you will see as you travel around! It has masses of stunning pink blossom. This tree will grow to approx 30ft high x 30ft wide so perhaps not suitable for smaller gardens.
This week saw the start of our very own ‘Hanami’ or ‘flower viewing’ (the ancient tradition in Japan of celebrating the domestic cherry tree) when all of our cherry trees burst into bloom! There is no prettier sight in the morning than looking out of the kitchen or bedroom windows and seeing the beautiful blossom especially as most of my other flowering plants are only waking up after the very long Winter we’ve had this year.
Ornamental Cherries blossom while still young and are very quick to mature. Yes, the flowering period is short and even shorter if they are lashed by heavy rain or winds but they are so worth it! From what I have read over the years, I believe there are early, mid and late flowering varieties which if chosen correctly can give an overall flowering period of 8 weeks (I’m no expert so would suggest you speak to someone at your local garden centre/nursery for details of what to pick to get the maximum length of flowering time)
If size is an issue in smaller gardens, then there are also columnar varieties available – Prunus Amanogawa is one I have come across (upright clusters of shell pink flowers). This I believe, can grow to heights of 25ft but with a spread of only 12ft.
If pink blossom is not your thing, then can I suggest Prunus ‘Mount Fuji’. In Spring, it bears cup shaped, fragrant white flowers. Again, this tree will grow to approx 20ft high and 25ft wide but with the bottom branches, when mature at just above head height, you could almost have a fall of snow as you walk under it!!
I hope this little post has been some help for anyone out there who is considering investing in one of these beautiful trees… and while the Cherry Blossom ‘Season’ will soon be over, it is something to think about for next year (it’s worth mentioning that cherry trees, even without blossom are a stunning plant and many have beautiful coloured foliage or bear fruit during other times of the year – a cherry is not just for Spring 🙂 )